Sunday, May 03, 2009

Hold the Phone!

At the University of Washington, the PhDs are in...but their telephones are out:
"I think we're all aware that we're living through events that in 10 or 20 years we'll be talking about in our classes," he said.

He's referring to the day they took his telephone away.

[Richard] Kielbowicz, whom I had to reach by e-mail, is a professor at the University of Washington's Department of Communication. These are lean times at the UW, so to save money this department that specializes in how society exchanges information has gotten rid of its landline phones.

....Most professors have personal cellphones, so they're hardly shut off from the world. Still there are some who feel the demise of the landline phone is sad.

....On the other hand, the relics never rang anymore.

Kielbowicz, who teaches a course in the history of communication technology from the Gutenberg press to the World Wide Web, says his office phone would ring maybe once every two weeks. Calls became so rare that he began to view any that did come in with trepidation.

"Students no longer call on the phone, ever," he said.

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